It feels like Hollywood is finally starting to get what so many of us knew all along; audiences want to see diversity. Yet somehow, at this exciting moment of progress for the industry, Deadline Hollywood found it appropriate to publish what can only be described as a call for regression.
John's life has a lesson for us today. His struggle -- our struggle -- for a just society, for true equality and respect -- is not over. Far from it. All we have to look at is the widespread assault on the Voting Rights Act today. But like him, we cannot walk away; we cannot give up.
There's nothing to be happy about -- no feel-good takeaways -- when a middle school girl gets insulted by a man and has to speak up for him so he can continue a baseball career no one gives a fuck about. She is not supposed to be anyone's savior or protector. We need to be saving and protecting her.
Channeling the revolutionary essence of the Harlem Renaisance, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly is a gripping, soul-driven melodrama that masterfully depicts the story of a courageous young man fighting through the painful process of liberating himself.
In our everyday fights to silence the racist chants of misguided college students and stifle overaggressive police who racially profile black children, we must reach the finish line. The next generation should never have to question whether their lives matter.
Despite past voting obstacles, there are compelling reasons for blacks in Ferguson to rush to barricades this time to vote. One is the prospect of a regime change. Another is they could move to dump the racket that city officials have run for years that criminalizes virtually the city entire black population. Another is there's no excuse.
The n-word has the blood of thousands of lynchings, beatings, and other horrific crimes melded between its letters, meshed in its very fibers. So, why do some white people want the right to use this abhorrent word again?
I was running errands with my youngest two children in tow when an acquaintance of ours spotted us and came over to say hello. She looked at my son, marveling over how much he had grown.
"Yes," I smiled, "He's a big boy!" She replied, "Such a cute little thug." My son is 2 years old.
While we applaud Starbucks for their effort to engage a topic that many seek to avoid, and while their efforts seem well-intentioned, we, as a national racial justice organization, with a name similar to the hashtag used in the campaign feel compelled to say: as a nation, we need more.
Funding for school policing programs has expanded and more school-based police are being armed with the same weapons cops carry on the streets. This expansion has not come with significant strings attached or proper guidelines.
With all due respect to Pastors Creflo and Taffi, instead of wasting community funds on frivolous expenses like a Gulfstream G650, maybe you should spend more time reaching out to the community in order to understand what they need, and how you can use your ministry to support them!
We all have our areas of specific and recognized expertise, and to that end it is always advisable to maximize our credibility and stature within our area of expertise as we are then subject to far less questioning and challenges than when we venture outside of that area.
Over the past couple weeks, much of the mainstream media and bloggersphere had been abuzz with frenzied commentary to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's efforts to encourage baristas to discuss the issue of race with customers.
The deaths of unarmed black individuals at the hands of law enforcement and the shootings of members of law enforcement has forced America to take a deeper look at the legacy of our problematic racial history.
They are all under 30 years old and, despite their age, have attained world-class status in their fields, as well as riches, fame and respect.
Count down the Top 9 Young Lions who are making black history today and for many years to come.
FilmMagic - WireImage
Given that it's Black History Month, let's talk about the relationship between black philanthropy and black activism. Do you see a connection in history?
Oh definitely. I was reading a book recently about African American philanthropy and this connection to black activism. The roosts of black philanthropy were actually sparked as a reaction to slavery. Our forefathers pooled their resources to help slaves gain freedom, and also to support them once they became free. There were so many mutual aid societies, churches and schools that were established with those funds. When you look at black history, it is a lot of black philanthropy. People always talk about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but a lot of people don't know that she pooled her resources with others' to establish homes and provide education after slaves became free. So it wasn't just about getting people free. She also provided those services to help people get where they needed to be.
Is Black History Month still a useful and purposeful way to celebrate our achievements?
I don't think it's bad. I think it's important and is needed. But I would like to see more of a spotlight on our living legends, people who are making history that are still living. We always seem to focus on the past. But there are so many people who are still living. We could tap into their wisdom, they could talk to youth. Like Ruth Simmons, the first black president of Brown University, and the surviving Tuskegee Airmen. We just need to broaden our scope and bring to light these hidden gems.
What is your favorite black philanthropy and who would you say is the biggest black philanthropist of all time?
I'm going to be biased because I have my own charity! My favorite black organization is mine. I founded a giving circle in 2005, which is a group of individuals who pool their monies for a given cause. It's called The Black Benefactors. We just gave out our first grants recently totaling $10,000, so I'm really, really excited, because it's been almost five long years in the making. I'm also happy to say that all the organizations that we funded are African American-led. And even though we are called The Black Benefactors, people think you have to be black to join – not true! We have members of different races.
[In terms of my favorite black philanthropist of all time], I'm not going to say a celebrity. Oseola McCarty was a woman who saved up her money for years and when she passed away she left $150,000 [to the University of Southern Mississippi] for students to further their education. She is probably the most inspirational, because she showed that you do not have to be rich in order to give back to your community. She saved up her money for years, and she did not tell anyone. She worked washing clothes. Her gift shocked everybody. That's how passionate she was about helping students.
Then there are also lesser known, but prominent, African Americans like Eddie and Sylvia Brown. Eddie Brown has donated $5 million to the Baltimore public school system [to help African American students]. At the Maryland Institute College of Art this African American couple has a building in their name – The Eddie and Sylvia Brown Center. They donated $7 million to this organization.
You profile many celebrities on Black Gives Back. Do you have a favorite story of working with a celebrity or their organization?
Now, Kanye catches a lot of flack. But I will say that when I met the staff of his foundation, they are awesome people who know their stuff. When I talked to Kanye's mother briefly before she passed, I asked her "how did you select the people to run your organization." And she said, even before Kanye became famous, he wanted to give back. He was always concerned about when they were going to give back.
The singer Mya has a foundation that is a camp for kids in DC. I went to one of their year-end celebrations. You can really tell that Mya loves what she does with the kids and is very passionate about her foundation.
What do you see as the connection between black philanthropy and our future as a community?
Black philanthropy is essential for our future. It is being predicted that by 2050 communities of color with constitute over half of the population. We definitely need to ensure now that we will have resources available for us. It's still unfortunately the case that many organizations that primarily serve African American communities are headed by whites who are not connected to communities of color. Very few of the major foundations have people of color on their boards. One that does is Target. Laysha Ward is the head of their philanthropic efforts. So we do have some that are in those very important positions. We just need to support the people and organizations in place now, and make sure that we are in control of the funds that will serve our community.
What is the connection between giving and greatness?
There is definitely a connection between giving and greatness. It's even in the Bible. Everybody has something to give. Even if you don't have money, you can use your talents. Whatever you're good at, you can use that to benefit an organization. Just using whatever you have to help others who are less fortunate than you makes you a great person. When you give, it just makes you feel better. And when you give, you will get it back.
Aol Black Voices. is the premiere site for African American news, viewpoints, and community. Visit BV daily to get informed, connect through our profiles, and express yourself on our message boards. Get the latest coverage of black news, black entertainment, black stars, politics, black style and beauty, black relationships, money, and more. Share your voice at BV!